How to set up a proper inspection process

Does this happen in your shop: Five different technicians do an inspection five different ways?

Shops need to have a uniform process for doing vehicle inspections. This way, every tech goes through the process in the same way. Lead technicians should put a procedure in place that standardizes the process, urged shop coaches at a recent conference.

The inspection process “is probably one of the biggest black holes in every shop,” according to Matt Lachowitzer, coach with Transformers Institute and owner and founder of Matt’s Automotive Service Center.

At the Midwest Auto Care Alliance Vision Hi-Tech Training & Expo in Kansas City, he recommended lead techs set the standard. Start by getting all the techs together and bringing more consistency into how things are interpreted.

“Do all the inspections together and you talk [it through]. Every tech interprets a leak, a drip, a seam, everything differently,” Lachowitzer said during the session Unleash the Power of Your Shop Foreman and Take Them to the Next Level. “What’s a 10 out of 10 one day may be a four out of 10 the next day. How do you bridge that gap? That’s understanding that training [on] your inspection process so that everybody’s on the same page all the time. It’s not always going to be consistent, but you can start by training on it and you need to make it more consistent. That’s the Number 1 thing.”

Tell them what the minimum is for the acceptable standard, how they should be doing certain things and the order in which it is done, he added.

Every tech interprets a leak, a drip, a seam, everything differently.”

Lachowitzer also noted that an inspection might be ordered in a way that looks good to the customer but makes no sense to the technicians. “And as a technician, you say, ‘Why did they put this together this way? Why am I doing tires when there’s all this stuff over here?’”

For fellow presenter and coach Frank Scandura, owner of Frank’s European Service, a good inspection process starts with approaching the vehicle and looking at it from the outside. Then sitting in the car is the next part.

“Heater, A/C, blower, wipers, blinkers — I’m hoping everybody’s test driving a car when you get it initially. A short test drive. That’s the next part of the inspection,” he said. “Now it comes into the bay. Open the hood that’s the next part of the inspection. Car’s halfway up that’s the next part of your inspection. [Then when the] car’s all the way up. That’s the next part of the inspection.”

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